Archive for Issue 121

GOVERNMENT DEFENDS STIEGLER’S GORGE DAM PROJECT

by Ben Taylor

Map showing the proposed Stiegler’s Gorge project -background map from www.openstreetmap.org

The government remain undeterred in its plans to construct a large dam in the Rufiji River, at Stiegler’s Gorge in the Selous Game Reserve, [see also TA 120] despite concerns expressed by conservationists and MPs.

Conservation groups including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have raised concerns since the project was mooted in 2009 and have consistently called for the project to be abandoned. The IUCN called the project “fatally flawed.”

The Selous Game Reserve is one of the last major expanses of wilder­ness in Africa. It’s a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site the size of Switzerland. Since 2014, it has been on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, primarily because of elephant poaching. In less than 40 years, the park lost 90% of its elephants.

However, the planned hydropower dam could have an even more devastating impact. At 130 meters (427 feet) in height and stretching 700 meters across the canyon, the dam will create a lake of 1,500 square kilometres and will generate up to 2,100 MW of power.

“The dam would destroy one of the most important habitats for wildlife and the heart of the game reserve, where most of the animals roam, especially in the dry season. It would open up that whole area for indus­trialization, infrastructure and settlements,” said Johannes Kirchgatter of the Africa Program for WWF Germany. “If you’re standing in the middle of Selous now, it’s a fantastic wilderness, there is wildlife all over, and all of that would be gone… It would be a great loss for us and the generations to come.”

The dam would also have a significant impact on livelihoods further downstream. A WWF report found the dam would trap most of an estimated 16 million tons of sediment and nutrients carried by the river every year, leading to soil erosion and cutting off lakes and farmland downstream. The Rufiji delta, home to fish, shrimp and prawn fisher­ies, as well as the largest mangrove forest in East Africa, would also be starved of water. In all, the construction of the dam could damage the livelihoods of over 200,000 farmers and fishermen, according to the WWF.

The IUCN said that the project is ‘fatally flawed’ because of its ecologi­cal impact. It called on Tanzania to ‘permanently abandon’ it.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, wrote a letter in January expressing her concern about the irreversible damage the pro­ject could have on the Selous. The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO, which lists the Selous as a World Heritage Site, expressed its “utmost concern,” saying the dam project has a “high likelihood of [causing] serious and irreversible damage.” The WHC added the Stiegler’s Gorge project as a new factor that endangers the Selous eco­system.

The government rejects this criticism. When WWF published its report in 2017, tourism minister Jumanne Maghembe insisted the hydropower was needed to transform Tanzania’s economy.

President John Magufuli has said the dam and resulting reservoir would cover only 3% of the Reserve, adding that he would not listen to detractors who spoke “without facts.”

The government is pushing ahead to fell more than 2.6 million trees from the area that would be flooded by the dam.

Now Tanzania has taken its defence of the project to UNESCO. At the 42nd meeting of the World Heritage Committee, held in June in Bahrain, Tanzania cited sustainable development to push for the project.

Major General (rtd) Gaudence Milanzi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said Tanzania has main­tained its position to continue with the project as stated during a meet­ing of the committee in Poland last year. He explained that the dam was primed to play a critical role in the vision of the government to industrialise the economy.

In a separate development, the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Matters and the Environment, January Makamba, stated on Twitter that a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed, such that the previous EIA published in 2009 will no longer be used. The new EIA has been conducted by the Institute of Resource Assessment of the University of Dar es Salaam, he explained. “Its report was submitted last week by Tanesco,” he posted. “A team from [the National Environmental Management Committee] (NEMC) will visit the project this week to verify and talk to the community and stakeholders.”

MPs have also questioned the order of developments, asking why the decision to fell so many trees had been taken before the EIA had been completed. “I wonder why the government wants to move on with the project and yet we know well there will be an impact, especially due to felling of trees. Let us get the EIA n the project,” said Peter Msigwa (Chadema, Iringa Urban). Similar points were made by Zitto Kabwe (ACT Wazalendo, Kigoma Urban) and Nape Nnauye (CCM, Mtama).

Other MPs disagreed. “The tone here is as if all trees around the country will be cleared. Some people are just not patriotic; and I think patriotism should be taught starting from nursery school,” said Mr Omary Mgumba (CCM, Morogoro Rural). “The environment exists to serve human beings and not the opposite.” Dr Raphael Chegeni (CCM, Busega) asked MPs to reduce complaints as projects such as Stiegler’s Gorge were a result of their demand to ensure reliable power genera­tion.”

The Deputy Minister in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and the Environment, Mr Kangi Lugola, told parliament the government would go on with implementation of the project “whether you like it or not.” He added that “those who are resisting the project will be jailed.” Mr Lugola has since been promoted to Home Affairs Minister.

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CONSTITUTION

by Enos Bukuku

More groups request change
The Government has remained silent on the issue of implementing a new constitution despite pressure from various sections of society for the process to continue. One of the most outspoken critics had been Dr Bashiru Ally, a University of Dar es Salaam political scientist, who has been calling for the government to restart the process.

However, Dr Ally was appointed CCM’s new Secretary General in May and has stated that he will have to abide by CCM’s stance on the consti­tution. Some cynics might view this as an attempt to keep a vocal critic on the government’s side.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) executive director, Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, recently stated that a new constitution is one of three items on the LHRC’s agenda. “The government should put an emphasis on the national consensus for the process to be revived and to provide the country with a new constitution, the process should continue regardless of our starting point. All important issues removed from the draft constitution should be included.”

The Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) has called for various changes to both the current constitution and also the national election law to ensure that the political environment surrounding the 2020 elections is peaceful. The TCF Chairman, Mr Hebron Mwakagenda, speaking at the LHRC offices said, “We want peace to be maintained before the 2020 general election that is why we ask the government to consider revisiting these areas. The battle for the new constitution will resume immediately after the elections.”

Since President Magufuli came to power we have heard similar requests on a regular basis from different stakeholders. The President’s response so far has been to say that a new constitution is not high on his list of priorities.

It is clear that the voices of key stakeholders in the constitution process will continue to be directed towards the government and towards those with the influence to effect change. At the moment it does seem as though the decision makers are in no hurry to respond and that a new constitution is still not a priority.

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SPORT

by Philip Richards

Football

Tanzania national side “Kilimanjaro Queens”, pictured in Uganda in
2016 (Fufa)


Reflecting the rapid rise of women’s football globally, Tanzania is no exception. Whilst the men of Taifa Stars languish in the lower reaches of the FIFA rankings, the women of Kilimanjaro Queens are making some headlines. The team that represents mainland women’s football has made the news recently after some high-profile tournament wins including the CECAFA Women Challenge cup, a regional five-nation tournament that was played on a round-robin format in Kigali, Rwanda. The win earned the plaudits of President John Magufuli and the team now move onto the inaugural East African Community Games which starts mid-August in Bujumbura, Burundi with the Queens opening their campaign with a fixture against Kenya. (Daily News).

On the men’s front, Dar based Simba FC won the mainland Premier League in May despite losing 0-1 to Kagera Sugar in the final game. The Citizen reported that the trophy was handed over by President Magufuli who was visiting the National Stadium to attend a sporting event for the first time since he became President.

Simba football club with trophy (simbamakini.co.tz

At national level, Taifa Stars have a new head coach in former Nigeria winger Emmanuel Amuneke as the new head coach of the national team. His first competitive game in charge of the senior Taifa Stars will be their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uganda in September. The latest FIFA rankings places them at 140th in the world, with Tunisia the highest ranked African team (24th) and France owning top spot. Amuneke, 47, replaces local coach Salum Mayanga who had been in charge of Tanzania since last year. (BBC Sport website).

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FAKE NEWS

by Ben Taylor

Who is Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt?
The Economist rarely pays much attention to Tanzania – once or twice a year at best. So when they published not just one but two articles on President Magufuli in a single issue earlier this year, heads turned. The headlines are striking – “Tanzania’s rogue president – Democracy under assault” and “How to save Tanzania” – and the contents even more so. Tanzania is undergoing “a sickening lurch to despotism,” the paper writes, where “opposition politicians are being shot; activists and journalists are disappearing.” This is happening under “an authoritar­ian and erratic” President Magufuli, who is “fast transforming Tanzania … into one of Africa’s more brutal dictatorships”.

Criticism of President Magufuli’s government has been growing in Tanzania, but nobody on the international stage has previously gone nearly so far as the Economist articles. Given the number of people who have been arrested and charged with sedition or various cybercrime offences for expressing criticism of the government, it’s hardly surpris­ing that people are growing more careful what they say. Twaweza’s lat­est Sauti za Wananchi poll found that while 80% say citizens should be allowed to criticise the President, only 36% feel free to do so in practice. So these articles ruffled some feathers.

Including, apparently, the feathers of a Belgian health expert / social worker living and working in Tanzania, by the name of Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt. He was so upset by the Economist’s writing that he published a response, the beautifully titled: “Facts The Economist Got Them Wrong on Magufuli”:

“Contrary to the fact deprived article, it is my candid observation that to objectively critique Magufuli’s presidency in the circumstances of the transformation he is doing for his people in Tanzania, requires the level of conscious that is unfortunately lacking in the current editorial team at the Economist.”

“In my stay here before and after his presidency, I have witnessed real transformation, his work is exemplary and fascinating one. Everybody here—may be just like what Theresa May is doing in London and what Trump is focusing in Washington, is aware that Tanzania is on the move towards pro-people development; something the Economist is unhappy for.”
It is possible that a Belgian social worker / health expert would feel support for Donald Trump, that his English would be so broken, and that he would express his support both for banning political rallies and preventing pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school after giving birth. But it seems unlikely.

It also seems unlikely that he would choose to do so on a blog that did not exist until that day, published by “a Senegalese journalist”, Sammi Addo, who has apparently no other online presence. Indeed, other that Dr Verhoftsadt’s article, everything else on the site has been copied and pasted from somewhere else – Bloomberg (US), Daily Nation (Kenya), ABC (Australia), etc.

It also seems very unlikely that Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt would have no previous online presence at all himself, either.

However, despite such strong reasons for doubt, the blogpost was widely promoted and cited, including by the government-owned Daily News and HabariLeo newspapers. The latter translated and published almost the entire blogpost. And the official government spokesperson posted his support for the blog on an official twitter account.

But then, who should appear, from nowhere, but Dr Herman Louise Verhoftstadt himself, with a series of tweets, the first of which made his point clear:

“Greetings @TheEconomist, please ignore this fake news. I have never been to Africa, let alone Tanzania. In my 37 years of medical practice, my work has been around Europe and South East Asia. You need to have a very poorly performing government to come up with a lie like this.”

But something here doesn’t seem quite right either. The new Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt has no more online presence than the previous one. And more particularly, his profile pic on twitter is a stock image from Getty, freely available to anyone with access to Google. There is no more reason to believe this to be genuine than the original blogpost.

Fake news vs fake news is the new reality, it seems, even in Tanzania.

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REVIEWS

by Martin Walsh

IN AND OUT OF THE MAASAI STEPPE. Joy Stephens. BestRed, Cape
Town, 2016. x + 266 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-928246-12-1. £24.50.

I was swept back to my days working in villages in Tanzania by Joy Stephens’ beautiful book about the Maasai, a Nilotic ethnic group, famously colourful, living in northern and central Tanzania. At various times I had the chance to talk to Maasai and found their perspectives refreshingly direct and their sense of humour engaging.

Stephens spent much time over a period of 14 years first setting up, and then visiting Maasai women’s groups, and latterly the women’s families. She helped the women use their traditional skills of beading to earn income for their families, and in this way got to know them. She writes passionately about their wisdom, their deep knowledge of their homeland and the skills they possess to thrive in a hostile environment.

The setting up of the women’s groups is described, and through this we become acquainted with several characters who appear throughout the book. She follows the development of the groups, recording the pitfalls, the unexpected outcomes, the frustrations and successes, with respect and humour but never patronising, understanding that with their very different outlooks, there will inevitably be difficulties as the women tackle the puzzles of modern capitalism. As well as this, interwoven in the text, she provides us with accounts of the history of the Maasai in Tanzania, through colonial times until now, their survival of repeated assaults on their way of life, and how colonialism negatively affected the role of women in Maasai society. There is a brief history of beadwork, and a description of the heart-breaking effects of the long drought of 2006.

Stephens finishes by wondering whether the Maasai will survive the tremendous changes and pressures that are encroaching upon their unique lifestyle, whether they can adapt, and worries that even people like her, trying to promote women’s rights, are part of the onslaught. It is a thoughtful, uplifting book full of insights, and made me want to return to Tanzania and spend more time with Maasai people before it is too late.
Kate Forrester Kibuga

Kate Forrester Kibuga lived in Tanzania for 15 years, working as a freelance consultant chiefly in social development. She carried out research assignments throughout the country and encountered Maasai on many occasions. She now lives in Dorchester, where she is active in community and environmental work.

SHIPWRECKS AND SALVAGE ON THE EAST AFRICAN COAST (Second edition). Kevin Patience. Short Run Press, Exeter, 2018. 300 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-5272-1430-9. £15 (UK price including postage and packing, available from the author at saburi@hotmail.com)

This book – an updated second edition from the initial 2006 publication – offers a fascinating catalogue of shipwrecks, strandings and salvages along the East African coastline and interior Great Lakes. The ships in question are almost entirely major Western-constructed vessels, with no attention given to Arab, Indian or local Swahili craft. Excepting a brief survey of early modern Portuguese shipwrecks, most are British, German or Scandinavian commercial sea craft built in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The author, who has produced several shorter East African maritime histories, is himself a former salvage diver who worked in East Africa and the Persian Gulf since the 1970s. This expertise informs the author’s confident explanations of how each vessel came to be wrecked, damaged or stranded, and in particular what operations were necessary to repair, salvage or scuttle each recoverable ship. This makes for surprisingly interesting reading. Nearly every ship entry includes vital data on its construction and casualty location, a picture of the vessel, and a long paragraph – sometimes several paragraphs for the more interesting cases – that explains the ship’s history, service, damage, and ultimate fate. This includes 32 shipwrecks and 69 strandings and salvages off the Kenyan coast; 44 shipwrecks and 41 strandings and salvages off the Tanzanian coast; and 18 total cases in the Great Lakes. Organised alphabetically by vessel name, the book is best read as an encyclopaedia to be dipped into, although a few major themes do emerge across the entire book.

First, the two events that produced the most shipwrecks in East Africa were the Zanzibar hurricane of 1872, in which over 150 vessels were lost, and the maritime military engagements of the First World War. The latter provides the most dramatic material of the book. Much the best known of these historical shipwrecks is the SMS Königsberg, the German cruiser which, after leading one of the most dramatic naval hide-and-seek missions of the First World War, was scuttled in the Rufiji Delta in July 1915 after British bombardment, becoming an odd tourist destination before finally disappearing into the Rufiji riverbed in 1966. Even more curious are the First World War’s maritime casualties on Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria – Lake Nyasa (Malawi), puzzlingly, is not covered in the book. In all cases, the material legacies of these conflicts shape the maritime aftermath of this region – from Dar es Salaam’s long-congested colonial harbour to the repurposed commercial vessels of the Great Lakes.

Second, more recent wrecks have come at greater expense of human life. The most famous of these by far is the MV Bukoba, which sank in Lake Victoria in 1996 costing 869 lives. Other commercial ferries, often ill-suited for heavy commercial work, have produced similarly grisly results – the Kilindi-Mombasa ferry MV Mtongwe, which sank in 1994 leaving some 276 dead, and more recently the oceanic tragedies of the MV Spice Islander (2011) plying between Unguja and Pemba, and the MV Skagit (2012), plying between Zanzibar Town and Dar es Salaam, which left over 200 and 146 dead, respectively. The catalogue-entry nature of this book prevents any developed analysis of these trends, but it is fairly easy to discern the deadly combination of older, ill-maintained craft and inadequate regulation in these tragedies.

Finally, this book is effective in showing the more quotidian ways in which most ships come to be wrecked, stranded, and salvaged. Most ships in East Africa came into trouble not through violent weather or warfare, but rather through bungled steering, poor ship-to-shore communication, engine failure, fire, and internal explosions. Their repairs and salvages were unsentimental business decisions, though their remains survive as local landmarks and sites of underwater pilgrimages for intrepid divers. To behold the long line of container ships idling on the waters near Dar es Salaam has become a regular sight over the past decade, a reminder of the region’s rapidly growing global commerce and struggling infrastructure, and the irreplaceable role played by transoceanic commercial shipping. For those with more than a passing interest in history of commercial and military ships in the region, this book is a rewarding resource.
James R. Brennan

James R. Brennan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois, and is author of the book Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania (Ohio University Press, 2012).

THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE INDIAN OCEAN: THE ANCIENT WORLD ECONOMY AND THE KINGDOMS OF AFRICA, ARABIA AND INDIA. Raoul McLaughlin. Pen & Sword Maritime, Barnsley and Havertown, PA, 2014 (reprinted 2018). xix + 276 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978­1-52673-807-3. £14.99.

How might a book with the title The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean be relevant to the 21st Century? Roaul McLaughlin, a classicist from Northern Ireland, barely studies this question directly until the very final pages of his book but then again, he hardly needs to because in reading about Rome’s trade with Africa, Asia and the Far East, the parallels with our supposedly modern world spring out from every page.

Described as “a wonderful book” by the Black and Asian Studies Association, McLaughlin makes a persuasive case that the Roman empire’s trading interactions, whilst they built upon already extensive contacts between Egyptian, Greek and Hebrew traders and their counterparts in Africa and Asia, were on a sufficiently greater scale as to create the world’s first wave of globalisation.

Rome’s seizure of Egypt opened up the empire’s route to Africa and Asia via the Red Sea. A Roman attempt to conquer what is now Yemen failed, but Roman navies controlled the Red Sea from their base in the Farasan islands, opposite what is now Eritrea. By the middle of the first century A.D. fleets of Roman ships were moving to and fro across the Indian Ocean using the seasonal monsoon winds. It is likely that some 120 ships made these annual voyages, some of them with 500 tons cargo capacity – the container vessels of their day. These ships traded as far south in Africa as what is now Tanzania; around the coasts of Arabia and across the Indian Ocean to the kingdoms of what are now Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. By the middle of the second century A.D. Roman ships were trading in the Ganges Delta of what is now Bangladesh and even around to the tip of the Malay peninsula. Merchant citizens of the empire – Italians, Greeks, Egyptians, Jews – lived and worked in probably all the great ports of India and Sri Lanka. Products from inner Africa which were exported either via the coast or along the Nile included leopard and lion cubs, elephants and ivory, exotic animals and hides, tortoise and turtle shell. Roman ships sailing down the east coast of Africa – Azania – stopped at several trading stations, a large island called Menuthias which was probably Pemba or Unguja (Zanzibar) and finally a port called Rhapta about 100 miles further south. It took vessels at least 60 days to reach this location which was nearly 3,000 miles from the Empire and which marked the limit of Roman trading voyages. Roman records say that Rhapta was managed by Arab traders and exported great quantities of ivory and turtle shell.

McLaughlin presents a huge amount of evidence that the wealth of the Roman empire was based on this trade. Import taxes on eastern goods provided as much as one-third of the empire’s wealth, and he argues that this was what paid for the Roman war effort, with the legions at their peak estimated to number 300,000 soldiers. In fact, it is humbling to read that Gaul, Britain and other provinces of the empire in northern Europe, about which we read so much in history books, were pretty much a drain on the empire’s finances throughout the period. In contrast, the empire obtained astonishing amounts of income and goods from Indian Ocean trade. Every year the empire imported 16,000 tons of pepper and cotton, 10,000 tons of spices, 360 tons of turtle shells and 560 tons of ivory (over 14,000 tusks). Rome became the first and pre-eminent consumerist society. Incense from Arabia perfumed Roman homes and temples, pearls from Sri Lanka and gem stones from India glittered on every wealthy citizen’s tiaras, rings, robes and even sandals (the original diamonds on the soles of their shoes). (Silk was another important commodity but this mainly came overland, and McLaughlin has examined this trade in another book, The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes).

The Roman empire had less in the way of products that the kingdoms of Arabia and Asia wanted, although there were considerable exports of such things as glass and wine. However, Rome did have minerals in fabulous amounts, especially silver, which came from mines in Spain, the Balkans and Egypt. Every year Roman merchant vessels exported vast amounts of bullion and coinage (which was minted with a guaranteed high silver content) to pay for eastern imports.

The other great empire of the day was the Han empire in China which was also at its peak at the same time. These two great powers knew of each other, although only at second hand. The Parthian empire stood between them and jealously guarded its position as middle-man on the silk roads. But in 165 A.D. Rome made direct contact with the Chinese empire by sending a delegation via what is now Vietnam. Trade was undoubtedly a major motive. An alliance to squeeze the Parthians between the two empires may also have played a part. And worries about the military capability of the mysterious Chinese had also begun to concern the Romans; Juvenal in his satires describes Roman women ambushing generals at fashionable dinner parties and demanding to know “what are the intentions of the Chinese?”.

This represents one of the great “what if?” moments of history; what if the Roman and Chinese empires had formed a direct trading relationship and even a political and military alliance?

We shall never know, because it went horribly wrong for both empires at the very moment of meeting. Global trade and contacts brought many benefits; it also spread one of the world’s most devastating pandemics, known in the West as the Antonine Plague. Whatever this disease was – possibly smallpox, possibly measles, possibly an unknown virus – it originated somewhere in East Asia and first spread north through Indo-China to devastate the Han empire. Chinese sources recorded how three in every 10 soldiers died and more were permanently incapacitated. The Romans, meantime, had moved against Parthia and had conquered what is now Iraq when suddenly their troops began to die in great numbers. The legions were recalled to Europe, and brought the plague with them. German peoples took advantage of the chaos and moved across the northern frontiers and the Roman empire began its long and agonised decline.

In a globalised world, all economies were in contact. The plague and chaos killed the miners who produced the silver and gold which Rome used to buy imports. Over the coming decades Roman currency was progressively debased until it was almost worthless. The decline of the mines, debasement of the currency, the death toll among merchants and mariners and decline in consumer demand dried up the trade with Asia. In turn, the regimes and dynasties with which Rome had established long-term relations in China, India, Persia and elsewhere, also began to collapse. McLaughlin describes how “by the second century A.D. the main regimes of the ancient world were so economically interdependent that the fate of one major economy was capable of providing the trigger for world-wide financial collapse and decline”.

At the very end of his book McLaughlin concludes that whilst international trade brought wealth and prosperity, “the forces that destabilised the ancient world economy are still in effect, including the reliance on finite resources for trade wealth and essential revenues. Mass population movements, natural disasters, wars and the threat of global pandemics still have the potential to diminish human progress. Ultimately, this is the significance of distant trade and the ancient world economy”.

John Magrath
John Magrath is a writer and researcher who has worked for Oxfam for over 30 years. In 1994 he worked in refugee camps in the Ngara District in northwest Tanzania. He has a particular interest in climate change and its impacts and implications, especially in East Africa.

A FIELD GUIDE TO EAST AFRICAN REPTILES (2nd edition). Stephen Spawls, Kim Howell, Harold Hinkel and Michele Menegon. Bloomsbury Wildlife, London and New York, 2018. 624 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-4729­3561-8. £35.00.

This is the fully revised and updated edition of the comprehensive field guide that was originally published by Academic Press in 2002 as a hardback with a slightly different title and line-up of authors (Stephen Spawls, Kim Howell, Robert Drewes and James Ashe, A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa).

As the new Introduction explains: “Since that date there have been many changes in the East African herpetological field. New species have been found in East Africa and described. Existing species have been split, animals have been recorded in East Africa for the first time, range extensions for existing species have been recorded. As a result of systematic studies, particularly those based on DNA and other biological molecules, many species have been reclassified, regrouped and their scientific names changed; new relationships have been discovered.”
Like the first edition, this is an excellent guide: the update includes more than 500 species and is illustrated with 600 new photographs. Those of us who struggled with the incomplete guides that were available before Spawls et al. got to work, will be forever grateful. As a regular visitor to Zanzibar, my main gripe is that the islands are so small on the distribution maps that it’s often difficult to see whether particular species are present there or not – a bolder colour and/or arrows indicating presence would help. In some cases, the colour has been mistakenly omitted on these maps. The Flap-necked chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis), for example, is shown as absent from the archipelago, whereas it is present on both large islands.

I also wish that lists of local names were included, as they are in some other field guides, like Roberts’ Birds of South Africa, and Henk Beentje’s Kenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas. Something to consider, maybe, for future editions.
Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

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OBITUARIES

by Ben Taylor

Derek Ingram

Derek with the other founders of the Britain-Tanzania Society in 1975

Derek Ingram (20 June 1925 – 17 June 2018) was one of the founders of the Britain Tanzania Society. The official picture shows him with Bishop Trevor Huddleston, Roger Carter, the indefatigable first Secretary of the Society, and John Malecela and Amon Nsekala, both of whom were Tanzanian High Commissioners in London (John left the post to become Prime Minister in 1990).

Derek was a tall man – gaunt, serious, loveable, a little other-worldly, but entirely reliable and utterly frank. By 1975, when BTS was founded, he had known Julius Nyerere for at least 15 years. He described a journey to Nigeria, and on to Nkrumah’s Ghana, in 1960, which makes it clear how much he valued Nyerere’s judgements, even before Independence the following year.

Derek left school early to become a journalist – he made a good living as a sub-editor when he was only 17. After service in the navy, he worked on the Daily Express, then the Daily Mail where he was repeatedly promoted till he became Deputy Editor, before falling out with the proprietor Lord Rothermere over what he saw as his racist attitudes to Rhodesia. At this point, in 1967, he and a friend set up Gemini News Service, a network of journalists across the Commonwealth. Six stories were printed on gestetner machines, stuffed into enveloped and mailed out to its loyal subscribers twice a week. It was never a financial suc­cess but launched many careers, including Lindsay Hilsum and Trevor MacDonald, and enabled those living and working in one part of the Commonwealth to know a little about what was happening elsewhere. Derek insisted on accuracy, clarity, clear simple English, and the impor­tance of contacts built up over many years. It made him one of the most respected journalists in the Commonwealth, an expert on all its coun­tries. Derek himself lived quietly in London, never married, devoted to his life’s work.

Gemini carried on till 2002. Derek never lost his interest, and continued reading the newspapers every day and writing and talking to his huge circle of friends. He died peacefully just short of his 93rd birthday. The Britain Tanzania Society was just one of his interests, but we would be very different without him.

Andrew Coulson

Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti

Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti


Maria and Consolata Mwakikuti (1996-2018) were conjoined twins whose positive outlook and determination to survive against the odds had captured the hearts of Tanzanians. They died in June at the age 21 after suffering respiratory complications at Iringa Regional Hospital.

The women, who were joined from the navel downwards and shared organs like the liver and lungs, had two hearts and separate heads and arms, and were against the idea of being surgically separated. The twins were very well known in Tanzania and the news of their deaths caused sadness nationwide.

President John Magufuli tweeted that he was “saddened” by their deaths, adding that Consolata and Maria had “dreamed of serving the nation”.
Health Minister, Ummy Mwalimu, said the twins “have fought a war to an end. Rest in peace, Maria and Consolata.”

Maria and Consolata were born in Makete, Njombe Region, in 1996. With care and support provided by Maria Consolata, a Catholic charity that adopted and named them, they were able to complete secondary education. Last year they enrolled with the Ruaha Catholic University (RUCU) with the goal of becoming teachers.

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